A N I M A L P A R A L L E L I S M IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE A N D THE BESTIARIES: A P R E L I M I N A R Y INVESTIGATION

It was one of the fundamental character traits of the early Christian and medieval mentalities that the signifying, symbolizing, and allegorizing function was anything but arbitrary or subjective; symbols were believed to represent objectively and to express faithfully various aspects of a universe that was perceived as widely and deeply meaningful. This is one of the descriptions of symbolism given by Ladner in a seminal article originally delivered to the Mediaeval Academy of America. 1 Seeing the world from a theological perspective had its effect on the way the animal kingdom was regarded. In a theocentric world animals were merely one part in the hierarchy that ranged from stones to angels and on to God himself. The Physiologus and the bestiaries which it inspired reflect this to the extent that they life the natural world to a higher plane with their moralizations. They are essentially didactic works, rather than works of natural history as Aristotle's Historia animalium had been. Whereas Aristotle had aimed at a systematic investigation of nature, the Physiologus tried to explain and 'justify the ways of God to men', or as Wirtjes puts it in her recent edition of the Middle English Physiologus: 'Nature is not studied for its own sake but for what it can tell us about God's purpose and about how we should conduct our lives. Nature has become a metaphor, a book to be studied by all good Christians. '2 The Physiologus was therefore composed in a spirit similar to that which inspired Origen's Commentary on the Songs o f Songs, where one finds: The apostle Paul teaches us that the invisible things of God may be known through the visible (invisibilia Dei ex visibilibus intelligantur), and things which are not seen may be contemplated by reason of and likeness to those things which are seen. He shows by this that this visible world may teach about the invisible and that earth may contain certain patterns of things heavenly, so that we may rise from lower to higher things (utab his, quae deorsum sunt, ad ea, quae sursum sunt possimus adscendere) and out of those we see on earth perceive and know those which are in the heavens. As a certain likeness of these, the Creator has given a likeness of creatures which are on earth, by which the differences more easily might be gathered and perceived? It was perhaps inevitable that a number of animal stories and features, which had traditionally been associated with certain particular animals, started to overlap. Although we find this type of parallelism throughout the bestiaries, quite a number of these parallels can be classified in certain well-defined subject areas. It is these parallelisms that will be considered here. After a brief discussion of the Physiologus and the bestiaries, and a far from exhaustive listing of some of the parallels, two subject areas in which many parallels can be classified and which, according to some, make the world go round (namely, religion and sex), will be considered in somewhat greater detail. As the subject is a vast one only some broad

Neophilologus 78: 483-496, 1994. © 1994 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

484 L. '6 An even better example of this genre is the late fifteenth-century Middle Scots Deidis of Armorie. and because of that noble nature the hawk is superior to the lords and proud men. Thus in de Bado Aureo's Tractatus de armis.4 Whereas the bestiaire d'amour is quite different from the more traditional bestiary both in structure and in theme. better armed with courage than with bodily strength.A. probably composed at the end of the fourteenth century. Both the long Latin version and the Welsh translation of this work have the interesting story. the heraldic bestiary is closely modelled on the more traditional bestiary type but distinguishes itself by replacing the significatio or sensus moralis by a more appropriate heraldic moralization. by traveller's tales (such as Mandeville's Travels) and romances set in the east (Alexander romances). rather than distribute it among his soldiers. Furthermore. moreover. Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum naturale and Bartholomaeus Anglicus' De proprietatibus rerum. Houwen outlines can be sketched here.7 There it can be read. also ensured that the genre remained productive. which was a reciprocal one: not only did the bestiaries influence works of literature but these literary works in their turn left their mark on the accounts of animals. and influence. it should be emphasised that this treatment is far from exhaustive and most details mentioned deserve independent study. this was further developed in the twelfth century and later with the bestiaries. and although some aspects of the subject will be treated in greater detail. 8 Aided by medieval encyclopaedias like Isidore's Etymologies. concentrating as it does on a secular interpretation of the bestiary material in terms of amour courtois.R. based on Alexander Neckam's De naturis rerum. The Physiologus and its derivatives provided the foundation for the later use of animals and their symbolism. As the bestiary genre developed it came to include at least two subgenres. A good illustration of the influence of the bestiaries on literary works is found in Reynard the Fox as related by Caxton. for example. Their enormous popularity. and then sets it free. which extended beyond the Middle Ages into modern time s . cunning and courage'. as Alexander says. the bestiaire d'amour and the heraldic bestiary. And if during the next day it should meet that bird several times it would not cause it any harm because of the help and comfort derived from it. bestiaries had a tremendous influence on literature.J. viz. weak and daring man. because this bird is armed rather with courage than might and talons. and what it lacks in strength is made up in skill. that the man who first bore a griffin in arms is covetous and crafty and will keep all the gold which the griffin was said to guard on a mountain in Asia.5 it is shown that the man who first assumed a hawk in his arms was 'a slender. that 'on a cold night in winter the hawk seizes a bird and keeps it under its feet until the next day to save being cold. which combines some basic tracts on heraldry with a heraldic bestiary in which seventy-seven animals are discussed in this way. bestiaries disseminated animal lore and legend all over Europe. Corbant the rook complains to King .

as the reputation of Pierre de Saint Cloud's fox grew. for example. t° The opposite case. possibly a reindeer or a moose.Bestiaries 485 Noble about how Reynard bit off his wife's head when the two birds had gone to 'play's on the heath: I wente to day by the morow wyth sharpebek my wyf for the playe vpon the beth And there laye reynart the foxe doun on the grounde lyke a dede keytyf/hys eyen stared and his tonge henge longe out of his mouth/lyke an hounde had ben deed//we tasted and felte his bely//but we fonde theron no lyf/tho wente my wyf and herkened and leyde her ere to fore his mouth for to wite yf he drewe his breeth//whiche mysfylle her euylJ/For the false felle foxe awayted wel his tyme and whan he sawe her so nygh hym/he caught her by the heed and boote it o f . the Bestiary fox became identified with him. with the Roman creeping into the bestiary. still known in Dutch as a 'hazeslaapje' but now known in English as a catnap). several animals were associated with (precious) stones. the characteristics of the Indian ass were eventually ascribed to the unicorn. '12 According to Varty: 'It is clear to see that. . because he has no joints he cannot get up (except with the help of young elephants) and may thus be easily taken. both hate horses. the 'nature' of which became even more complex when at a still later date the characteristics of the rhinoceros were added to those of the Indian ass. 9 The fox feigning death by throwing himself on his back and bloating himself up in order to lure and make a meal of the birds that come and sit on his belly is. TM Similarly. 11 In the description of the raven in the Deidis of Armorie the fox is also referred to by its proper name: 'makis frendschip with l~e rennart. The medieval method of catching an elephant is as follows: the hunter partly saws through the trunk of the tree which the elephant uses to sleep against. in the thirteenth-century bestiary of Richard de Fournival both 'goupil' and the proper name Reynard are used. 't3 When the descriptions of animals in medieval literature are examined it is found that many of their characteristics are not unique and are shared by other animals. for ~e rennart is suttell in takin of prais. Single features ascribed to animals are often shared by a number of them: griffins and ostriches. Moreover. occurs when the fox is referred to not by his generic name but by his proper name. The same story is also told about the so-called 'alce'. The pike and the asp were thought to have one each in their heads. . a later thirteenth-century bestiary uses only the proper name. although it was only the lion who was seen as a figure or type of Christ whose godhead was ever awake (the hare's wakefulness gave rise to the idea of the so-called somnus leporinus. and the latter of these . and both basilisks and wolves were known to paralyze or kill men with their looks. Reynard. a clear instance of the familiar Physiologus story making its way into the Roman de Renard. of course. In Philippe de Thaun's twelfth-century bestiary he is still only referred to by his generic name ('goupil'). when the elephant subsequently leans against it the tree breaks and the elephant falls down. both the lion and the hare sleep with their eyes open.

is the reason why the snake-charmer pursues the asp. and thus rejuvenates itself. the confusion that exists between ichneumon.19 and the urine of the lynx"hardened into precious stones which the ungracious animal subsequently buried. he explains. Many examples are also given of transference. as in the arrangement of some animals to form 'oppositional or complementary pairs' such as the already mentioned case of the panther whose sweet breath symbolises salvation whereas that of the whale symbolises damnation. such as that of the ascription of the procreative habits of the weasel (who conceives through the ear and gives birth through the mouth) to that of the shark (or spotted lizard.21 the phoenix is burnt by the sun on the altar of the priest of Heliopolis. Isidore says that mus comes from humus because it is engendered by the dampness of the earth. which are then restored by bathing thrice in a fountain). enhydris. squeezes itself through a narrow gap in a wall.R. while pressing the other to the ground. 25 Diekstra.J. in Pliny). due to confusion of Greek galeds 'shark' and GallO 'weasel'. 16The Ancrene Riwle describes how the eagle was wont to place the agate in its nest to protect its young from venomous snakes 17 but according to Albertus Magnus the stone was intended to increase the fertility of the eggs. This. 18 The hyena was thought to have a jewel in its eye 'which is believed to make a person able to foresee the future if he keeps it under his tongue' .486 L. manifests itself in various ways. z3 This type of animal parallelism has many different causes. Confusion prompted by a similarity in names and/or features may be one of them: witness. 15 These facts may have evolved into the story as told in the eighteenth dialogue of The Dialoges of Creatures Moralysed in which a serpent (cerastes) desires to wear an agate between its horns so as to make itself more graceful. cocatris. shows in what ways the Physiologus is occasionally adapted to suit its Christian purpose. A slightly different case is that of false etymologies. for example.A. who resists his charm by stopping one of its ears with its tail. in a recent article on bestiaries and medieval animal lore. when it grows old. galeotes. Examples of this abound. 2° The sun functioned as a purifying force for several animals: the eagle flew up to it when its eyes had grown dim to have the dimness burnt away (and his wings too.2z and the lizard. 26 This. thus classifying it among the animals characterised by their capability of spontaneous generationY . hydrus. facing the sun. it is claimed. These transferences may be due to faulty transmission or misreadings. Take that of the mouse for example. Houwen is identified by Gower in his Confessio Amantis as a carbuncle. which may be explained by the fact that in the oldest Latin texts of the bestiary the chapter on the whale or aspidoceleon follows that on the panther. where the characteristics of one animal are transferred to the description of another (various examples of this are given below). crocodile and basilisk) 4 Shared characteristics may also be caused by 'cross-pollination': both the panther and the whale are credited with having a sweet breath.

the centaur. in fact. hound. 2~ It will therefore come as no surprise that the sexual behaviour of animals is a recurring theme in the bestiaries and medieval (didactic) literature.- . sexuality even though it was men. ~° Mares could symbolise lustful women. however. lechery rides a goat. according to Batholomew Batty. although he would appear to be much more credulous with respect to some other animals. made men ' l i k e .Bestiaries 487 H o w e v e r interesting these causes may be. the mouse. 34 In the medieval period. 'copulate in the ordinary way and. the boar. of all creatures. . or rather. z9 The goat has been a symbol of libido from the earliest times. . dogs and the most savage and brutish beasts in the world' and the animal examples that he uses are the traditional medieval ones. ate more than was good for them and were sexually active all the year round. the present concern is not with causes but with their ultimate results. lascivousness or sexual infidelity. The persistence of the ape as a more general symbol of sin and sexual license is evident in medieval illustrations and in sculptures of the ape riding on other symbols of lechery: a goat.H. '33 Other such lustful animals are the bear (male sexuality). According to the medieval encyclopaedists it was so lecherous that its blood could dissolve a diamond and in John Gower's Mirour de l'omine.ferocity. To proceed from the general to the more specific 'let me count the ways'. The first subject area to be considered in somewhat greater detail is that of the sexual aspects of animals. an animal which was otherwise renowned for its chastity. Keith Thomas notes that 'men attributed to animals the natural impulses they most feared in themselves . retrocopulation or back-to-back copulation. and in the thirteenth-century Middle English De clerico et puella Puella refers to the love-act as riding a 'wycked hors. goats. Sir Thomas Browne certainly would have none of it. gluttony. the belief was widespread and formed one of the standard elements in the bestiary description of the elephant. In an amusing if somewhat superfluous footnote T. . Rowland notes that 'the ape of lust appears on a leash held by a woman in a design entitled De fide concubinarium by Paul Clearius. White assures his readers that elephants. o r p i g . who made war on their own species. swine. Sometimes it holds a m i r r o r . '3z Another animal associated with lust is the ape. circa 1505. the hare. . Lust. the mermaid and. viz. a sixteenth-century moralist. highlight one that certainly had later authors baffled. 31 The horse in general could symbolise lust: uncontrollable steeds feature in Prudentius' Psychomachia where they are mounted by Pride and Lust. at least not with respect to the elephant. Numerous animals were found to symbolise lust. according to Lieut. not beasts. It was as a comment on human nature that the concept of "animality" was devised'. Robert Mannyng of Brunne in his Handlyng Synne does not leave much to the imagination when he uses 'mare' contemptuously of a woman when he says that 'shame hyt ys eure a y w h a r e / T o be called a prestes mare'.

those that deal with animals impregnated by the wind possibly appeal most to the imagination. and they do not die easily of needy old age. In the Hexaemeron he writes: We have spoken about the widowhood of birds and that virtue arose from them first. and the offsprings of these because of their longevity reach a great age so that up to a hundred years of life a succession of them is produced.R. more gracefully than most. The idea of spontaneous conception has an ancient history but it proved exceedingly valuable for medieval exegetical writers. by Origen. Three animals were c o m m o n l y associated with this phenomenon: mares. Eusebius. tiger and h y e n a ) 6 In the case of the hedgehog it is not too difficult to imagine why they were thought to favour this particular position. Both of those are . and conjugals (sic) by a certain practice and nuptial bonds engaged in by chance. Williams. Ambrose at some length here since he not only clearly links the two but also because he reinforces some of the earlier statements on s y m b o l i s m by evoking the familiar image of God as the author of the book of nature which only needs to be read and (correctly) interpreted. Indeed vultures are denied to indulge in coition. lynx. This belief in what Zircle aptly termed anaemophilous animals was skilfully adapted by some Church Fathers to demonstrate that the Virgin Birth of Christ was not an impossibility. for in lgat partye in 19e whiche 10e superfluyte passel9 oute 19ere he toches hemself in generacoun. It m a y be worth quoting St. '35 If the bestiarists and encyclopaedists are to be believed this curious behaviour was c o m m o n to more animals.A.J. tigresses and even pikes have also been known to be similarly affected. A m o n g the instances of parthenogenesis. Basil about vultures and in the so-called Recognitions of Clement about hens.H. Augustine with respect to mares. but lambs. the belief in retrocopulation appears to be linked with the assumed hermaphroditic nature of these animals. vultures and hens. a m o n g them the lion. Do we not perceive that the Lord sent beforehand many examples from nature itself by which incarnations he proved the virtue of the suspected one and added truth (to the story))8 Similar ideas about the thematic link with the immaculate conception were expressed by Lactantius and St. In fact. that can be perceived in vultures. now let us speak of chastity which also is proved definitely to dwell in many birds. the direction of the wind is even thought to determine the sex of the sheep's offspring. ''37 In a few of these instances. rhinoceros. and St. camel.488 L. Houwen Colonel C. 39 Other animals which were thought to conceive without sexual intercourse are the partridge and bees. According to Bartholomaeus Anglicus 'wilde yrchouns gendrel~ stondyne wil9 bak ytomed to bak. What say those who are accustomed to smile at our mysteries when they hear that a virgin may generate and do they esteem impossible bearing by an unmarried girl whose modesty no custom of man violates? Is that thing thought impossible in the Mother of God which is not denied to be possible in vultures? A bird bears without a mate and none confutes it. in the Middle English translation of Palladius' De re rustica. and because Mary bore when betrothed they question her chastity. such as those of the hare and the hyena. and thus without any mate they conceive by seed and generate without conjunction.

are so lecherous that ' s u m sais quhen 19e famell has hate wil scho consavis alanerly of 19e wynd l~at strikis hir til hir male'. grasshoppers. Hence the name of bougeneis given by the ancients to bees. 42 The sexual inclination of the partridge was such a well-known fact that it m a d e its way into heraldry: Nicholas Upton in his De studio mtlitari refers to the three partridges given by the Earl of Salisbury to 'a certain gentylman' for his bravery in the field of battle in France. frogs. 4s this naming also asserted m a n ' s authority over beasts. So hot is their d e s i r e / T h a t they forget the law of nature. as the bestiaries make abundantly clear: . after having been torn to pieces in the form of a bull. The souls of the dead were supposed to come down from the moon upon the earth in the forms of bees. it is believed that bees are born in the bull's carcase.46 Ladner also notes that 'the symbolic world view of the Middle Ages cannot be understood without reference to a sacred history which was conceived as a coherent sequence of divinely planned happenings. Dionysos (the moon).Bestiaries 489 discussed in the Middle Scots heraldic bestiary already referred to and in both instances the descriptions found in Brunetto Latini's encyclopaedia are followed closely. from creation through the events of the Old and New Testaments and the salvation-oriented progression o f mankind. 43 Autogenesis is also a characteristic of snakes (engendered from the spines of corpses). according to those who were initiated in the Dionysian mysteries. Biblical symbolism often superimposes itself on that of animals: thus the story of the elephant's chastity and subsequent seduction after eating of the mandrake is closely tailored on that of A d a m and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge. as the moon is the culminating point of the constellation of the bull (as a bull herself). mice and eels (all from mud). The Bible virtually starts with the creation of the animals./ For male mates with male. Partridges. was born again. the horn of these cows seems to correspond to the sting of the bee. according to Plutarch. and A d a m naming the animals became a popular topic for medieval illustrators and occupies a separate chapter in some of the bestiaries. 45 Gubernatis explains the underlying symbolism of the bees as follows: According to Porphyrios the moon (Selene) was also called a bee (Melissa). TM This is echoed in most bestiaries and the Deidis of Armorie. 44 This notion has an ancient history and in the case of the bees would appear to have an Indo-European origin rather than a semitic one as has been suggested. Porphyrios adds that. '47 Medieval religion and theology have left clear marks on animal lore and legend. hence the name of Bougen~s also given to Dionysos./ And has a very bad habit. lice (from infected air). and bees are said to be begotten by the flesh of a dead calf when the blood is rotten. it is claimed. According to Guillaume le Clerc 'it is not c l e a r / B u t is both dirty and mischievous. which nevertheless signified 'the fyrst berar to be a gret lyar or a s o d o m y t e ' . SelSn~ was represented drawn by two white horses or two cows. 4° The partridge is also one of the animals associated with homosexuality. in the form of a bee. and wasps by that o f a dead mule.

and the greed of the mouse was proverbial. When. the eagle in particular. or the boar who represented both sloth (drawing the chariot of poverty in an allegory by Holbein) and industry/work (by the . The horns of the antelope. '55 Other animals mentioned in one breath with avarice are the bear (Bruyn's greed lands him in a great deal of trouble in The History of Reynard). not least among them the hawk. however.J. 'stays chaste/And keeps all her life/Loyal to her mate'. before their provocation of the flesh. the griffin. in the bestiaries this episode is almost invariably followed by a homily on chastity)2 The turtledove. since she had good reason to. and gave one of its fruits to her man. and is left a prey for other animals.490 L. 54 Among the vices one of the most popular is surely avarice. like the elephant. They were therefore often used as illustrations of the virtues of purity and chastity. guarding its hoard of gold in Asia. Houwen Now the Elephant and his wife represent Adam and Eve. and a host of other animals. She cannot turn herself upright by herself. as Vincenzo Cartari explains in the sixteenth century: The tortoise knows the danger that she faces. were thought to symbolise the 'Old and New Testaments or the virtues of abstinence and obedience' . she was immediately made a wanderer and they had to clear out of Paradise on account of it.R. which is what the Mandragora [mandrake] means. the wife ate of the Tree of Knowledge. for example. falcon and horse. according to Guillaume le Clerc. For when they were pleasing to God. after completing the sex act.57 Of course animals could function both in partem bonam and in malam and therefore often carry two or more mutually exclusive types of symbolism. 51 The beaver (castor) castrates himself when pursued by the hunter and if he is chased again by another hunter he will throw himself on his back and show his pursuer the uselessness of his endeavour. after losing its mate. According to Rabanus Maurus 'mice signify men who in their breathless eagerness for earthly gains filch their booty from another's store. 49 One of the areas in which animals were employed in a religious context is that of the vices and virtues.50 The chapter on the elephant in the bestiary opens with the remark that it has no desire to copulate. which accompany Avarice in Gower's Mirour de l ' o m m e . goes his own way and leaves her there.A. Many animals in the bestiaries and related works illustrate lasciviousness but there are also some that are thematically linked by their abhorrence of the sexual act. A case in point is the otter. but perhaps this is a slightly different case. when she joins herself with the male. a sentiment which is echoed by Chaucer in the Parliament of Fowls and by many other medieval authors9 The tortoise. 56 In the Gesta romanorum lions are equated with pride. she must turn herself upside down with her belly on top and the male. foxes with fraud and goats with stinking lechery. which could function as a type of Christ or the Devil. is extremely reluctant to involve herself in the sex act. they knew nothing about copulation nor had they knowledge of sin.

At a more subtle level. the two virgins are Mary and Eve. but it is perhaps not so well-known that in the Gesta romanorum an elephant is captured in the same way. St. the phoenix. banned from the island by Cuthbert but allowed to return. 63 A similar tale is told by Sulpicius Severus about the lioness who presented the anchorite who cured her five blind cubs with the skin of a rare animal. the pelican. which they do gratefully. St. 59 the elephant and unicorn would have reminded a medieval audience of the Passion in what are clearly parallel stories.) Sometimes different saints are associated with one and the same animal as St. St. one carries a basin. Paul. but by two (naked) virgins whom the emperor sends into the forest. who are all associated with the serpent in various disguises in the Scottish Legends of the Saints. Margaret. the lion. If the lion and the phoenix conjure up images of the Resurrection (and in the case of the lion that of the Lion of Judah). and the unicorn. bearing a little gift of swine lard. 58 One gets the impression that almost any animal could symbolise Christ: the centaur. The account of how the unicorn may be captured by a virgin is a familiar one. a sword. moreover. Francis. the griffin. not by one. 6° Animals are also associated with the Evangelists. the eagle. the other. the lamb. the emperor is God the Father. The elephant.Bestiaries 491 emblem writers such as Valeriano and Ripa). licks the breasts of one of them and then falls asleep in her lap. and John with the eagle because it flies highest of all birds (another detail from the bestiaries) and he deals with Christ's Divinity. three of whom have them as their emblems. that the motif of the gift-bearing animal is often found. the lynx. 62 It is in saints's legends. According to the signification. after which the first maiden fills her bowl with the blood shed by the elephant. Cuthbert. Luke with the ox because the ox is an animal fit for sacrifice and his Gospel deals with the Passion. This use of different animals symbolising one and the same thing or person (like Christ) allows the author to vary his images without necessarily varying the symbolism. the other takes her sword and kills him.6~ Saints belong to yet another category of people which are often associated or linked to animals (St. the hart. and St. and the breasts the Old and New Testaments. The bird was rescued by a monk from gourmands who would have eaten her. Eugenia. the otter. And so she does. In the anonymous life of St. it also lets him emphasise and highlight one and the same thing from widely different perspectives. When the monk appears he is rewarded for his past hospitality with a precious stone which the stork . on returning to the monastery she calls out for him. Christina. Cuthbert there is a reference to penitent ravens (or crows). etc. the elephant. Durandus links Mark with the lion that roars in the desert because he deals with the Resurrection. attracted by their song. 64 In a secular context the motif of the grateful animal is related about the stork in the Deidis of Armorie. when the migration period approached the monk tells her she is free to go but asks her to come and visit him should she ever return to these parts. the elephant Christ.

69 As the above shows certain types of animals and the symbolism associated with them feature quite prominently in medieval literature. 2. The Middle English Physiologus. as exemplified by the two horns of the antelope. 54 (1979). More often than not they are employed in a moral context reminding one of one of the virtues or warning one against any of the Seven Deadly Sins. both in art and literature. unicorn) and the Resurrection (phoenix).A. where one Heraclei's looked after a stork with a broken leg. lxix. 68 In fact.492 L. Thus. the association between birds (or bees) and the soul or spirit of men was an ancient and a common one. Houwen casts into his lap. in their own way. 65 This account goes back to a story by Aelian. illustrate that animals can remember and be grateful. This type of didacticism eventually led to such a hateful work as The Dialoges of Creatures Moralysed in which the sole purpose of many of the moralizations seems to be to keep people in their place. the monks were astonished at this and thought it a miracle so they immediately placed this 'rycht worthi and precious' stone among their relics. the Passion (elephant.R. 67 when it is re-told in a heraldic bestiary of the later Middle Ages in terms of monks and their relics it is raised to a higher plane where it is easy to imagine that the whole event is controlled by the hand of God and the narrative thus reinforces the idea of a well-ordered and just world. Mary. Wirtjes. like the story of the stork as told by Aelian. G. often to illustrate particular moral.A. 227). 223-56 (p. Obviously. OS 299 (London.J. Obviously animals are not used exclusively for such political motives. Speculum. animals helped man to elucidate 'a universe that was perceived as widely and deeply meaningful. 'Medieval and Modern Understanding of Symbolism: A Comparison'. They could also be utilised to illustrate such theological doctrines as the virgin birth of Christ. p. 66 Whereas the gift-bearing animal may. and just as the Old Testament was thought to foreshadow the New. political or religious points. 1991). EETS.' Department of English University of Groningen Groningen The Netherlands Notes L. Adam. Eve) or emblems (Evangelists). a vulture or a hen and it was Mark who saw the dove as a type of the Holy Ghost when it descended upon Christ at his baptism.J. Ladner. edited H. HOUWEN 1.B. That this should be so is not very surprising in view of the medieval theocentric world view in which the animals ranked below humans and could therefore be used in any way man though best. We have already seen how the Virgin Mary was associated with a mare. so animals could be used as types (Christ. .R.

5. XXXII) translates as: 'Over against Germanie is the Ilande Scandinauia. chapter 25 of De naturis rerum. (London. Reynard the Fox: A Study of the Fox in Medieval . ready to fall. p. edited C. Wright. I1. 9. 1955). Neckam relates the story in book 1.' Solinus's source clearly was Pliny./ derflike. 1983). 1992). Varty. p. edited and translated H. ll.R. edited D. Segre (Milan-Naples. wibuten dred: he wenen bat ge ded beb./Ligtlike ge lepeb up and letteb hem sone. MS. pp. 30. for example. p. I. 259. edited E./ Gob o felde to a furg and falleb bar inne. Heraldic bestiaries are discussed at somewhat greater length in my "Harley 6149. sig. 12. Faraci (L'Aquila. but resteth himselfe when he is drowsie. 3 vols. the which is sawne almost a sunder. 11. 207-17. The History of Reynard the Fox. for another bestiary which uses the proper name in part. Curley. Blake. Collectanea rervm memorabilivm. yet is he of incomparable swiftnesse.' B Bestiario Medio Inglese. 108 (1992). For this text see Medieval Heraldry. 7. 167 (Latin text from BL. It is also related by Aelian in his On the Characteristics of Animals. 14. For an edition of the bestiary part of the French source of this Scottish text see L. for an English translation see Jeanette Beer. 91. EETS. OS 263 (London. that when the beast leaneth to his accustomed staie. K. Jones (Cardiff: privately printed.Bestiaries 493 3. I. the Middle English bestiary: 'Listneb nu a wunder bat tis der dob for hunger. Houwen and P.A. The detail about the friendship between the fox and the raven goes back at least as far as Aelian's On the Characteristics of Animals. 733. 10 Vols. For Richard de Fournival's bestiaire d'amour see Li Bestiaires d'Amours di Maistre Richart de Fornival e li Response du Bestiaire. Compare. against a Tree. 1979). 28791). 1863). 4. identified tentatively by the editor with the moose or reindeer: Pliny. 37-39. who has the same story about the 'achlis'. 76-77. 1990). Varty. Master Richard' s Bestiary of Love and its Response (Berkeley. used here. ×iii.7) which Arthur Golding (Cap. Natural History./ Fret hire fille/ and gob ban her ge wille.F.English Art (Leicester.iii. Eley. Physiologus (Austin. Zeitschrift fiir Romanische Philologie. 'A FifteenthCentury French Heraldic Bestiary'. ff. which like y° Oliphant boweth not the nether ioyntes of his legs. Mommsen (Berlin. 1957). p. 52. edited and translated Guy R. See Solinus (20. 151. for otherwise it is a hard matter to catch hym by hand. 1967). 11./Gelt hem here billing/ rabe wib illingJ tetoggeb and tetireb hem mid hire te~ sarpe. 11. see the short version of Pierre de Beauvais' bestiary. 1958-59). N.22) for which see C.J. III. 95-143. 1141-42. p. Kish (Gainesville. 1970). 8. (London. Ivlii Solini. a Middle English translation of the Tractatus de armis is extant in Bodley Laud Misc. edited T./tge rauen is swibe redi./ He billen on/~is foxes fel and ge it wel fele~.15v-42: A Scots Translation of a Middle French Bestiary'./and obre fules hire fallen bi for to winnen fode. Add. 1943). The non-heraldic part of the story is told by Solinus (15. 26-34. for Jones's translations of the Welsh text. . 26 (1991). where the chapter on the fox is entitled 'Dou Renart': A Medieval Book of Beasts: Pierre de Beauvais' s bestiary.J. For although hys ioynts be so stifle. 97 and Golding's sixteenth-century translation The Excellent and Pleasant Worke Collectanea rerum memorabilium of Caius Julius Solinus translated from the Latin (1587) by Arthur Golding. see pp. Scholfield. Ne drageb ge non onde. pp. 13. forto bilirten fugeles. p. Quoted by M. 241. Studies in Scottish Language and Literature. 1986). edited Th. 10. p. 91. My edition of the Deidis of Armorie: A Fifteenth-Century Heraldic Manual and Bestiary will shortly be published by the Scottish Text Society. Rackham. edited G.J. 6. Deidis. Deidis. which breedeth a beast much resembling an Alce. weneb bat ge rotieb. 460-514. translated A. 840-49.F. 1864). he may fall downe: and so is hee caught. Roils Series 34 (London. 289-303./ in eried lond er in erbchine./Ne stereb ge nogt of be stede a god stund deles/oc darec5 so ge tied were. edited N. and therefore lyeth not downe when he sleepeth. Jones. Mermier (Lampeter.

31-55 and plate 2 (facing p. A Preface to Chaucer (Princeton. ed. 36. p.C. pp. nam mus terra. p. edited M. William Lowth (1581).14 and On the Properties of Things. K. 'A Serpent. Rowland. quoted by Thomas. 28-29. 1992). p. 29-6. John Trevisa' s translation of 'Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum'./Anon as he perceiveth that. 10. I. 1973). pp. 94-95. Day. Brown (Oxford. p. edited G. on the Hexaemeron. Vol. (Oxford./And ek that other Ere als faste! He stoppeth with his tail so sore. 16. 2. p. 22. Etymologiae XII. p. 59-60. 1986). Ibid. 11. 11-12.' The English Works of John Gower. translated T. 29. the Bestiaries and Medieval Animal Lore'. McCulloch.N. 17. pp. For what follows in this paragraph I am indebted to F. Scanlan (Binghamton./That he the wordes lasse or more/Of his enchantement ne hiereth. 66. Rowland. English Lyrics of the Xlllth Century. 1208-09. 1932). pp. 24. 1212. 92. Kratzmann and E. EETS. Robertson Jr. unde et humus. Compare for example Isidore.J.1. 156. which that Aspidis/Is cleped. edited G. p. 11. 200-01. 1203-14 and also White. 3 vols. Scanlan. Curley. 37./So that he hath the wordes weyved/And thurgh his Ere is noght deceived. of his kynde hath this. Macaulay (Oxford.C./And in this wise himself he skiereth.B. 48-49. The use of this stone to enhance fertility is closely paralleled by the use of the mandrake. 25.C. 12. 32) and cf. See Faraci. Handlyng Synne. edited C. 38. (Oxford. . see D. The same claim is found in St.' Isidore. 16. Man and the Beasts (De Animalibus. edited M.H. 1988). edited and translated J. 32-1: 'His kynde is most hoot in so moche l~at his hoote blood neisshel~ and keruel~ l~e hard adamant stoon l~at noul~er fuyre noul~er ire may ouercome . 33. books 22-26). For a more general discussion see Rowland. p. 31. 152. 108-09~ for a more specific one on the analogy horse-wife/woman-flesh. 12. p. 142-55. edited G. 11-16. (London. 18. 1954. 164.3. 7981-82. for a modern English translation. translated W. II. 'The Physiologus. ES 81. 10. 20.'. 1987)./That he the Ston noblest of alle. 35. for Gower. which is discussed below. ed. As discussed by White. reprinted 1984). 11. Andr6 (Paris. Robert Mannyng of Brunne.. 12. Animals with Human Faces: A Guide to Animal Symbolism (Knoxville./The Ston to winne and him to daunte. Seymour. I. 2 vols. Ancrene Riwle. 11. Albertus Magnus./He leith doun his on Ere al plat/Unto the ground.W. 30. ch. See Deidis. I (The French Works)..A. Man and the Natural World (Harmondsworth. 26. 1981). 28. 1899). pp. 69 (1985). 11. OS 225 (London. 11. 11. F.J. 82. Houwen 15. p. and halt it faste. Seymour. 1-5. EETS. 22./Berth in his hed above on heihte. Thomas. 11. 1975-88). 1983). See Deidis. 1-4. 25 n. 135. p. 11. 40-41. see Mirour de l'omme (The Mirror of Mankind)./With his carecte him wolde enchaunte. Diekstra. 23. 32. 1983). edited F. see The Works of John Gower./ For which whan that a man be sleyhte. Sir Thomas Browne's 'Pseudodoxia Epidemica'. 1952). Andr6. section 2. 1900-1901). 194. 19602). White (New York./The which that men Carbuncle calle. 27~ 'Alii dicunt mutes quod ex humore terrae nascantur. Mediaeval Latin and French Bestiaries (Chapel Hill. transl. bk.1. p. 1962). which follows Brunetto Latini closely: Li livres dou tresor. Neophilologus. . p. 21. pp. White. Carmody (Berkeley. Albertus Magnus. edited R. The Dialoges of Creatures Moralysed. edited J. edited L Sullens (Binghamton. Wilson (East Lansing. Gee (Leiden. Robbins. 253-55. II. 19. 169 n. 2 vols. 125 and Curley. The Book of Beasts. 925-36. See also B.R. 11. p. The Christian Man's Closet. 32.M.. et al. 11. 1948). p. Etymologiarvm. 1726-31. 13.J. Basil's homily 9. . pp.494 L. 34. Macaulay.

p. For Guillaume.C. 11. 96./Forsothe. (Riverside edition. 'The Tortoise and the Lady in Vincenzo Cartari's lmagini and John Webster's The White Devil'. Keen. p. 50. God forbede a lovere shulde chaunge!'/The turtle seyde. 142. Zircle. 64). compare also the illustration in Harley 3244. 27. 11. Cf. MS 24. Bloomfield. The Heraldic Imagination (London. Foxes be f r a u d e . . 129. See Macaulay.H. in his description of the Island of Women. (London. 11. 217. 1936). 901-12 and W. 373. 134. White. . Notes and Queries. 52. 148. 'Animals Impregnated by the Wind'. 1956). that is to say all their vices and they must cast all bad deeds in the hunter's face. 98. edited S. the last four are mentioned by St. There are good grounds for assuming that here the mandrake is referred to. a plant which since biblical times had had a reputation for promoting conception (cf. 107. In Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls the turtle-dove exclaims: '"Nay. For the first two see Diekstra. pp. I1. I preyse nat the goses red. 47./'For. ed. 53. University of Hull. 38 (1991). 1939). ll. 70-72). . the latter being the devil who is constantly chasing' (A Medieval Book of Beasts. 5-7 and p. translated G. 'Medieval and Modern Understanding of Symbolism'. A. also M.. 40. p. p. 42.D. Lindsey. 195. 112. p. I wolde non other make. 51. 121. section 2 on the Hexaemeron. translated John J. 48. p. 2349-54. 95). 45. 1976). John Blount's translation as quoted by R. 57. In the French bestiary of Gervaise the two horns are equated with the virtues of abstinence and obedience. Mulryan. 54. who concludes that 'those who want to obey God's commandments and live c h a s t e l y . 151. 11. Some people claim that in this isle there is a kind of tree whose (fruit) makes (the women) conceive when they eat it' (see Zircle. f. See for example Pierre de Beauvais. 137 and Deidis. 144./I wol ben hires. Isis. 49. White. 2 vols. Dennys. reproduced by White in the section on Adam naming the animals (pp. . 'Lyouns be pride. 130-3I. White. p. & tr. pp. til that the deth me take . my emphasis).. Ambrose's quote see C. Jacobs (Syracuse. Basil in homily 9. Editions pr~liminaires versio B (Paris. 'Mystice autem inures significant homines cupiditate terrena inhiantes et praedam de aliena substantia surripientes'. p. . for which see Carmody. 1975)./ "Though that his lady everemore be straunge. EETS. 50. See also Carmody. quoted and translated by Rowland. 230-31. Zircle. Zoological Mythology or The Legends of Animals. 'Medieval French Bestiaries' (unpublished Ph. de Gubernatis. The Early English Versions of the Gesta Romanorum. Also note the following account by Ibn A1-Wardi (c. p. Druce (Ashford. 43. 44.J. 11. 5. 1984). 41. 582-88). 119 (fable no. 1340) who.Bestiaries 495 38. though she deyede. 'Animals Impregnated by the Wind'. 24. 55. til he be ded. see Druce. p. 30:14-16). 8-12. 56. ES 33 (London. See Aberdeen University Library. Gete be stynke of lechery'. p. p. For anaemophilous animals and St. The reference to the two Testaments is found as early as the Physiologus. The Bestiary of Guillaume le Clerc Originally written in 1210-11. The Seven Deadly Sins (Michigan. In the fables of Odo of Cheriton the same story and symbolism is found: The Fables of Odo of Cheriton./ Yit lat hym serve hire ever. Herrtage. p. 1414-18. Chivalry (New Haven. Deidis. 1872). 2669-74. Li livres dou tresor.. When they have become pregnant they give birth to (females) like themselves. 1985). p. notes that it is related 'that the women conceive by the wind. 1879). p. Physiologus Latinus. Mermier. Diekstra. must cut off their own genitals. II. dissertation. Cf. pp. and wex for shame al red. 1418-19 and 1358-62. p. 39. Quoted from J. Gen. 13: 'cuius [antelope's] duo cornua sunt duo testamenta' and thus made its way into the French and Latin bestiaries. see E. 25 (1936). 11. 78. 46.

Spiller (Aberdeen. The lion was also the symbol of the tribe of Judah (Gen. Scholfield. 181-82. 217. .395).' Cf.R.9: 'Judah is a lion's w h e l p .R.7. 63. . B. edited H.G. For these last four see R. the stork returned and recognizing its benefactress opened its bill and disgorged a stone into her lap. She looked after the animal until it had recovered after which she set it free. in spring. B. 66. Heracle'fs was totally amazed and put the stone away. Scheibe. Fathers of the Church. in Bryght Lanternis: Essays on the Language and Literature of Medieval and Renaissance Scotland. 37 (quoted by Rowland. and the face of a lion on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox. 11. 61. 4. 11. ed. For bees see De Gubernatis. Mk. The idea of the Resurrection is based on the story of the lion breathing life into his dead cub. Early English Text Society (London. p. 99. edited L. Houwen 58. Houwen (Groningen. also Rev. II. Dialogues in Writings. 60. 69. pp. 68. n. Swinburn. Morris. Two Lives of Saint Cuthbert. ch. Cf. 24. see S.J.A. 7 vols.M. ' ~ of which Christ was the scion. Gesta romanorum. see also Colgrave. 1917). Jerome's interpretation of Ezek. 1. 7. 15. edited R. 457. 115. Motif-Index of FolkLiterature (Helsinki. 129.D. who is quoted in The Lanterne of Li3t. only to be woken by it in the middle of the night because it shone so brightly it lit up the entire house' (On the Characteristics of Animals. Early English Text Society OS 57. 1932-35). 328. p. 209-10). 1. 68. p. translated B. pp. edited L. (London. Sulpicius Severus. 59. 'A woman from Tarentum by the name of Heracle'is once took pity on a young stork which had broken one of its legs. 21319-30. Augustine (De Civitate Dei. 101. The grateful animal is a recognised motif. A year later. and The Sex Werkdays and Agis. 1989). also St. 1260-72. PL 41. on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four. Rowland. 64. ed. p. 100-03. 46. vol. the Cursor Mundi.. 'Aspects of the Snake in the Legends of the Saints'. 65. 67. Oesterley (Berlin.10. M. pp. pp. . 1940). 815-25. Peebles (Washington. 11. 1949).R.J. McClure. dialogue 1. edited J. 59. For Durandus see his Symbolism of Churches and Church Ornaments p.10: 'And as for the likeness of their faces: there was the face of a man. 66. 7 vols. 1874-92). 49. Colgrave (Cambridge.496 L. 20-2. no.A. 48. 360. Thompson. 1872). 62. 67-89. This imagery derives from St. 11. 62. 130). 1990).M. II.

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